21 October 2011

Air New Zealand's PPQ flights start Tuesday

On Tuesday Air Nelson kick off Air New Zealand's new Paraparaumu to Auckland service. I'm booked on the first flight into Paraparaumu...

The first Air New Zealand flight from Paraparaumu to Auckland is fully booked as the airline prepares to launch the new seven-day-a-week service next week. The new route, offering 18 return services a week from Kapiti Coast Airport, will be operated by Air Nelson, a subsidiary of Air New Zealand, using its fleet of 50-seater Bombardier Q300 turbo-prop aircraft. The flights will take 70 minutes, compared with about 55 minutes in a jet from Wellington, and will save Coasters a 45-minute trip to the capital. Air Nelson chief executive Grant Kerr said ticket sales for the new service were in line with expectations. "They are at a level I think they should be at, which I am comfortable with, given this is a new service. We will need support by both Kapiti and Auckland [fliers] to make it a viable long-term service." Air Nelson will have Q300s as well as a 19-seater Beech 1900 operated by Eagle Air, another Air New Zealand subsidiary, on display at the official launch of the new service at Kapiti Coast Airport on Monday. The first flight will be at 6.35am on Tuesday. "We will be able to upgauge or downgauge our aircraft, depending on demand, so frequency [of flights] is maintained," Mr Kerr said. "The first flight is very full. We look forward to the support of the Kapiti region and increasing Auckland patronage. We would like to see more people using this service." The majority of tickets made available earlier this year for a special offer price of $79 had been sold, he said. The normal price from $104 was about the same as the lowest online price for flights from Palmerston North to Auckland. Kapiti Coast Airport owner Sir Noel Robinson has spent about $5 million upgrading the airport $1m on developing a new temporary terminal and about $4m on resealing the runway and other aviation upgrades.

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